This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on January 5, 2016
10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.
10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.
10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won't open.
10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.
Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.
This is Where it Ends was recommended to me by a paraprofessional at my school. I was surprised that she was so willing to lend it to me as she was in the middle of it herself. As a result, I read it as quickly as possible so that I could let her get back to her reading. Reviewing this book proved difficult because I have an opinion of it as a regular person and a different opinion of it as a teacher. Therefore, I decided that I should use this review as a way to combine those two opinions.
What I Liked
- The characters in this novel were very well developed. Of them, my favorite two were Autumn and Claire. Both of these girls knew the shooter rather intimately and yet had very different opinions of what happened. While they both agreed that they were scared and that there was senseless violence occurring, both were affected in very strong ways by the very same person. This definitely demonstrates the massive impacts that one person can have on the lives of several.
- Although I had two favorite characters, I loved that Nijkamp chose to write from the points of view of several characters. Because of this, I felt that Nijkamp did a wonderful job of showing how the actions of one person can change the lives of so many others.
What I Didn't Like As Much
- In my opinion, and apparently a few people on GoodReads as well, Tyler's character fell flat. He was supposed to be this very conflicted and troubled young man. Instead, he was portrayed as simply "evil" or "bad." While I will agree that his actions were unthinkable, I have a hard time accepting the black and white thinking involved in this scenario. By the time the majority of school shootings take place, the perpetrator has demonstrated behaviors that show he/she needs help. This could be for a variety of reasons such as mental health issues or family troubles. As long as the general public and authors such as Nijkamp perpetuate the ideology that all school shooters do it because they are evil, it becomes increasingly difficult for these students to get the help they need before the shooting or other attack occurs.
Do you think that this book should go into my classroom library? Would you put a similar book in your classroom? Explain your answer in the comments below!